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Of Sir W. DRUMMOND on the Egyptian names in the Old
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CLASSICAL JOURNAL.
ROM some circumstances known to your Printer, it happened that I had not the means of correcting the Coptic words, which appeared in my remarks in your fourth Number. I have since observed one error, if it were not originally a slip of my own pen, in the word P'hont. I shall just remark, by the way, that there is also an error in the printing of an Arabic word, which, however, is so evident, that your learned readers will easily perceive and repair it.
With respect to the first of these errors, I confess, I did not conceive it to be of much importance. For the information of your readers, who do not understand Coptic, it is only necessary to observe, that the word P'hont was printed in Coptic characters with the double instead of the single aspirate. Had I seen this, I should have altered it; and that I should have done so will appear very natural, when it is considered, that I had always written it with the single aspirate in my former works, into which I had occasion to introduce this name.
I should have conceived it to have been quite sufficient to have begged of you to notice this mistake in the list of your errata, (and, indeed, I have to thank you for your note in the last number,) had not the letter of your correspondent from Norwich rendered it necessary for me to enter into a fuller explanation on the subject.
There can be no doubt, that in Wilkins's Coptic Pentateuch, the word P'hont is written with the single and not the double aspiraté; and if the error proceeded from me, which, though I do not recollect it, I think very probable, it certainly was not intentionally. But since your correspondent enters with interest VOL. IV.
into the subject of Coptic orthography, there is a question which I would wish to submit to his consideration. It
appears to me that the letter 3 is one of those, which has been received at a comparatively recent date into the Coptic alphabet. This seems to be confirmed by what he himself states from Akerblad concerning the Rosetta inscription, in which “the Egyptian letter for X denotes not only ch, but also the softer aspirate h.” It is a considerable time since I have looked at the Rosetta inscription ; and, therefore, I cannot venture to speak as to its precise date ; but I should not suppose it to be more than about three hundred years more ancient than the Coptic translation of the Bible, which Woidé, Renaudot, Wilkins, and others suppose to have been in existence in the second century. I leave it, however, to your correspondent to consider, whether in this ancient translation, the word P'hont may not have been written *II XOHT. For myself, I have only to say, that the reading at present in the Coptic Pentateuch is IIZONT, and that my employing the double aspirate must have proceeded from inadvertence, as it was not done with reference to the doubts which I have now been suggesting to the consideration of your correspondent.
It is not my intention to enter into any controversy with your correspondent on the etymologies which he has proposed instead of mine ; but as he has apparently misunderstood, and has certainly mistated; my meaning upon some points, I must trouble you with a few remarks on his objections.
« Sir W.Drummond,” says he, “proposes to substitute in Paaneah a He as the last letter, instead of a Heth, because it is the reading in the Samaritan text, but then he is at a loss what to do with the first letter P; and proposes to consider it as being the Egyptian article P the,” usually prefixed to Egyptian words; but this makes a strange medley of a Hebrew word with fan Egyptian article before it, which would render the translation useless to those very Jews, for whose benefit it was made by the Hebrew scribes, who first inserted it instead of the original Egyptian word.”
The whole of this passage is a misrepresentation (an unintentional one I have no doubt) from beginning to end. I did not
substitute the He for the Heth, only because it is the reading in the Samaritan text ;-I never considered the word aaneach to be only Hebrew ;-I never said, that the scribe translated, or meant to translate, any Egyptian words by Zaphnath Paaneach ;-I never stated, that this same scribe inserted these words in place of the original Egyptian.
I have endeavoured to show both in my Essay on a Punic inscription, and in other publications, that the Egyptian, Ethiopian, Phoenician, Chaldean, Hebrew, and ancient Arabic, were originally cognate dialects, though I be still ready to admit, that the testimony with respect to the Egyptian is more incomplete than in the other instances. When I came to the words Zaphnath Paaneach, in my remarks on Genesis, I endeavoured to discover the real meaning of these words. It was obvious that nayo Paaneach was no Hebrew word, as we find it written in the Hebrew text. I then concluded that the word was Egyptian. The P I supposed to be the Egyptian article, preceding aaneach the noun. But if I were right in my general system, that the Egyptian and Hebrew were originally cognate dialects, the root này aaneach might be expected to be found in Hebrew as well as in Egyptian. In Hebrew, however, there is no such word as jy aaneach. But I observed that Onkelos and others agreed in translating Paaneach “the interpreter, the revealer, &c."; and as the word 73y aaneah may signify “one who answers, who declares, who announces," I suspected that this was the proper way of writing the word. In the Samaritan text (which by the way has been highly valued by nien not inferior to Hottinger) I found this to be the reading, and it confirmed me in my opinion.
My statement, then, simply amounts to this - Zaphnath Paaneach, (or Paaneah ) were two Egyptian words, of which the last is preceded by the Egyptian article P'. These words according to the Targum, signified the interpreter of the hidden things.” We are authorised to suppose these words to be Egyptian, first, because they expressed a title bestowed on his servant by a monarch of Egypt ;-secondly, because the P' in Paaneach seems to be the Egyptian article ;-thirdly, because this word with the incipient P' cannot be Hebrew. With the
exception of this P', (the Egyptian article) and by following the Samaritan reading, the title expresses the same meaning in Hebrew as tradition really reports it to have done. But since the Egyptian article has been returned, I conclude that the Hebrew scribe retained the words in their original form. It then follows, that, though the articles were different in the two dialects, both continued the same words for “one who declares, reveals, answers, or interprets,” and for “ secret or hidden things”.
Let us suppose that, three or four thousand years hence, a reader should meet with a passage in a Portuguese writer, who mentioned a complimentary title conferred by a Spanish monarch on a Portuguese. But as the Spanish and Portuguese strongly resemble each other, a question might arise whether his complimentary title were expressed by the historian in the former, or in the latter. This question would be immediately decided, if it were found, that there was an article employed which was the Spanish el, and not the Portuguese o. . This I conceive to be nearly the case before us. The words Zaphnath Paaneach appear to have been Egyptian, and to have borne the same meaning that Zaphnoth Haaneah would have done in Hebrew-the difference of the article constituting the difference between the Egyptian and Hebrew readings.
The objections, which your correspondent has made to my etymology of Pharaoh, are founded on similar misconceptions. I think that the word 1777 roh, was an Egyptian as well as a Hebrew word; and my reasons for holding that opinion are stated in the Essay to which I referred in my notes on Genesis.
Of some observations of your correspondent, which I think are a little more querulous than they need have been, I shall excuse myself from taking notice. As, however, he has condemned all my conclusions in one sweeping clause, I shall take the liberty of making some reply to his general assertion. “Those,” says he, “who conceive the Egyptian tongue to have any resemblance to the Hebrew, are in a great error; the Jews may have. borrowed a few words from it while they lived in Egypt, and a few more may have travelled with their colonies to Greece ; but it is altogether an original language, very harsh indeed, and abounding with combinations of consonants as bad as the Gothic,
yet as different from that and all other known languages, as Egypt and Lybia are unconnected with the rest of the world, except by the narrow isthmus of Suez.”
Your correspondent says, that the Egyptian is an original language, &c. He is then speaking of a language which he knows, and consequently, I conclude, he means the Coptic. Now, sir, I shall state, first, some reasons, in addition to those contained in my Essay, why I believe that the ancient Egyptian and Hebrew resembled each other; and secondly, why I think that he, who knows the Coptic, may still be very imperfectly acquainted with the ancient Egyptian.
1. That the Chaldean, Phoenician, Hebrew, and ancient Arabic, were cognate dialects, will, I conclude, be admitted. Should any doubts, however, occur to my readers, they may consult Bochart, Swinton, Bayer, Barthelemy, Schultens, and other writers, who have treated of these things. The affinity of the ancient Ethiopian to the Chaldean and Arabic has been shown by Ludolph and Bruce; but, perhaps, more fully by myself in my Essay on a Punic Inscription. Herodotus observes, that the Ammonian dialect partook of the Egyptian and Ethiopian. One of the Fathers of the Church, who had, at least, better means of acquiring information on these subjects than we can have, has told us that the Phoenicians, who built Carthage, changed some things in the language of the Africans, whence it may be inferred, that in the western parts of Africa the language already in use was not very dissimilar to that spoken at Tyre. . If, indeed, we trust at all to the evidence of Moses, we must suppose that the descendants of Ham and Phut originally spoke the same language. Without insisting upon the accuracy of all Bochart's etymologies, I think he has succeeded in proving that most of the African names known to the ancients were Phænician. When, then, we find all the nations to the east of Egypt as far as the Euphrates, „to the south as far as the southern limits of Ethiopia, and to the west as far as Mount Atlas, speaking cognate dialects, it seems difficult to suppose that the people of Egypt spoke a language absolutely unlike to any of these dialects.